8 Baby Shower Alternatives to Celebrate the Growing Family

Skip the pink or blue decorations and welcome the baby in a unique and meaningful way.

Published December 27, 2022
Friends and family celebrating new baby coming

While baby showers are super fun, they aren't for everyone or every situation. If you're planning a get-together that's a bit more chill or want to welcome a baby when the parents already have everything they need, there are lots of creative and meaningful baby shower alternatives that let you share your love and excitement. If you're a parent-to-be who doesn't want to go the traditional shower route (or a close friend or family member planning an alternative event) some of these unique ideas may be just your thing.

Baby's Library Luncheon Idea

All those adorable onesies? Babies outgrow them quickly; we're talking months or even weeks here. It's the same with the rattles, baby gear, and many other items that are traditional shower gifts. But there's one thing babies use for years and sometimes even pass on to their own kids: really great children's books. Share your favorites with a new bundle of joy by having a library luncheon instead of a shower.

This party can be as relaxed or as fancy as you want - a tray of cold cuts or a display of cucumber sandwiches can work equally well. The key here is making it all about building a library for the baby. Ask guests to bring a favorite book or two and write a special message or wish for the baby inside.

Low-Key Sip-and-See Baby Shower Alternative

A sip-and-see is a party after the baby is born. Guests can stop by and meet the new little one, offer good wishes to the parents, and sip on some delicious cocktails or a favorite wine or beer. You can keep it super casual and request that guests not bring gifts.

What's nice about doing a sip-and-see instead of a baby shower is that you know guests will get to meet your bundle of joy but won't stay forever or require a lot of your (very limited) energy. Everyone can see and hold the baby if you wish, and you don't have to worry about shower games, dressing up, or any of the traditional aspects of the shower. Have the event open-house style so people can come and go within a set window of time.

Collective Wisdom Dinner Party

Young pregnant woman allowing friend to touch her belly

You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child? All those experienced parents out there have learned a lot of helpful tips and parenting hacks that can be super useful for those new to the mom or dad game. Instead of a baby shower, host a dinner party where collective wisdom is the gift.

You can have this party before or after Baby arrives, although it's definitely more convenient for new parents if it happens before. Someone other than the parents should hold the party, so the cooking and clean-up doesn't fall on them. Ask guests to bring their best parenting tips. It can help people come up with ideas if you ask for advice about specific parenting dilemmas like sleeping, colic, feeding, maintaining your mental health, balancing baby and work, and anything else that seems useful. At the party, everyone can offer written advice or you can record the event and give the video or audio to the parents-to-be.

Better World for Baby Bash

Bringing a new baby into the world is exciting, but it can also make you even more aware of the ways the world needs our help. At this type of alternative baby shower, ideas and action replace the traditional gifts of onesies and toys. You can still have a party with everyone close to the parents-to-be, but instead of bringing a gift, ask them to do something to make the world better.

You can choose a specific theme, like the environment or social justice, or you can leave it open to interpretation. Guests can donate to a good cause or use their time and energy to volunteer at an organization that matters. At the non-shower, they can talk about why they chose the cause they did and how they hope the world will be better for the new little member of society. This alternative baby shower idea is one everyone will love because of its give-back approach.

Love Letter Drive as a Nontraditional Celebration

Long-distance baby shower alternatives aren't limited to Zoom calls or drive-by events. You can create something super meaningful and special for the baby and parents-to-be by holding a love letter drive. Friends near and far can send real letters through the mail with their wishes for the baby and what they love about the parents. You can collect these in an album to create a wonderful family heirloom.

All you have to do is reach out to people the family knows and ask them to send a love letter. Give them a specific date (not too far in the future) so they can get the letter written and to the parents before the baby is born. It may help to give them some prompts, such as wishes for the baby, what is special about the baby or parents, or hopes and dreams for the whole family. This is also a good option for those who prefer a virtual baby shower event.

Wish and Thrift for a Unique Baby Event

A new baby requires a lot of stuff, but not all of this gear needs to be bought brand new. Some baby items can be difficult to buy used because of recalls and safety concerns, but others, like clothing and toys, can be thrift store finds or hand-me-downs from friends. An eco-conscious baby shower alternative is to hold a thrift store or hand-me-down party where guests can bring along gently used clothing, toys, and books for the new little one. To make this even more meaningful, ask guests to add a wish to their gift. They can write it on a card or slip of paper and enclose it with the present.

Keep food ultra casual at this event by making it a potluck or pizza party. Low-key and stress-free are important, especially if you're hosting the event at the home of the parents-to-be.

Stock-the-Freezer Shindig

Woman placing casserole in the oven

The days and weeks after a baby arrives can be pretty insane for parents. It's hard to plan and cook meals when you don't even know what time it is because you were up at weird times all night. Make this transition period easier by holding a stock-the-freezer soiree before the baby is born.

At this party, everyone brings a homemade meal (or two) for the freezer instead of a traditional baby gift. You can cook or cater a nice dinner for everyone at the party and make it a fun event on its own.

Hatchelorette (or Hatchelor) Party

You know how you have a bachelorette or bachelor party as a last hurrah before you get married? You can do the same thing (okay, minus the copious quantities of alcohol) before you have a baby.

For this type of event, friends can take the mom- or dad-to-be out on the town for a fun dinner and stress-free evening before the responsibilities of parenthood make getting out a little more challenging. Make it super silly and fun with chick-themed decorations and maybe a special t-shirt or hat for the guest of honor.

Plan Alternative Baby Shower Ideas to Show Your Love

There's nothing wrong with the traditional baby shower filled with gifts, games, and plenty of fun, but this type of event isn't for everyone. Step outside tradition and welcome baby in whatever way makes sense for you and your friends. All that matters is that you celebrate the new life and the important milestone for those you love.
8 Baby Shower Alternatives to Celebrate the Growing Family